Before I start on Team Syachihoko’s “Tensai Bakabon”, I should mention that I have no particular bloodlust for the group. Nor were any syachihoko harmed in the making of the PV (that I know).
Team Syachihoko, who impressed me greatly with their last release “Shampoo Hat“, (it made my “Top Singles of 2014” list), returned to action with their May 13 release “Tensai Bakabon” (yes, I’m REALLY late to the party on this one). The group finished their week with 25,356 units sold and a solid 4th place ranking in the Weekly Oricon Chart.
The song ties with the movie version of a classic anime of the same name- you can see the trailer here. Maybe now is a good time to listen to the original version of the opening theme from 1971 (the first opening theme goes until 3:25, FYI).
Like you just heard in the original opening, Team Syachihoko loop a basic theme multiple times. The song structure simply alternates between an A melody and a B melody . The A melody, some will say “the slow part”, starts with a traditional arrangement (read: 1970’s) and slowly works their way through sometimes-strange arrangements with each repetition. The B melody maintains a consistently bonkers arrangement whose complexity grows with the addition of a wailing electric guitar and increasingly elaborate resolutions. Team Syachihoko heightens the frenetic energy of the song by playing the B melody at twice the tempo of the A melody (you will have to hear the original version to hear what I mean). By the end of the song, both melodies share a common arrangement designed to make your ears bleed and your head explode.
The main attraction of this release is the promotional video. “Tensai Bakabon” sets the stage with Team Syachihoko in Takeshita-dori, Harajuku. Clad in colorful and strange dresses from Sebastian Masuda, strike heroic poses gazing and pointing skyward. While they begin bopping around the pedestrian thoroughfare in the opening verse, you think this PV will be “normal” PV for Team Syachihoko. But, then they pull the switch.
A colorful orgy of CG repli-clones of Team Syachihoko appear with the switch to the B melody. This is a parade of clones. If you think about fish swimming in schools, a herd of wildebeest migrating across the Serengeti, or the lemming migration you will understand this set up. The musical chaos I mentioned earlier manifests in the haphazard destruction of the regular and predictable parade. Like the lemming migration, obstacles and objects appear to kill the clones timed to musical cues, of course. Some clones on parade meet their ends through objects (e.g. food, the kana for “Tensai Bakabon”, shachihoko) falling from the sky sending waves of clones careening through the sky. A broom forcefully sweeps some clones off their path. Giant versions of the clones trample more than a few of their diminutive cousins. It’s great fun seeing the destruction, and I do not want to spoil some of the inventive ways with which the clones are disposed. Seeing the annihilation of the hated, orderly exodus brings out my sadistic inner six year-old boy.
By the end of the PV, Team Syachihoko re-appear in Takeshita-dori striking their initial pose under Papa Bakabon’s trademark Hachimaki while your favorite cast members make a final running appearance. While “Tensai Bakabon” may not be my favorite Team Syachihoko song, the PV might be my favorite. Simple in premise and wantonly malicious, “Tensai Bakabon” delights with its innocent destruction. Remember, tempura shrimp may hover just overhead waiting to flatten the unsuspecting. Clones beware!